Contentment or Happiness

Contentment. Happiness. Longing. Lust. I’m mulling over the state of my mind. Trying to root things out. Generally speaking, I consider myself a content person. No matter my situation or location, I always try to keep in mind the positives and not dwell on the negatives.

My overall contentment leads to general outward happiness and passivity. I believe I have always struggled with a type of depression inwardly but outwardly, if I’m going to get noticed, I have to stuff that down and only show the happy face. If I want friends or acquaintances, I have to be the one with a good personality and a witty sense of humor.

Many years ago, I conducted an experiment. Until that point I had been quiet, introverted except around close friends or family, still funny but you’d never know it. I had like one good friend (who lived about 30 miles away) besides my sister who was my best friend. I attended a small school and being that I lived so much further away than my peers (two towns over), I was often overlooked and ignored and I wanted what they had: friendships and a sense of being. Literally overnight, I decided to open my mouth and be a funny, quick-witted one. I don’t have good looks or special breeding to help me out so I had to do this all on my own. It was a success in that – I won’t lie and say I became the life of the party or the most popular person around – my peers began to notice me and include me in their lives.

This was an eye-opener for me. If I remain quiet and withdrawn, not a single person notices me or joins me on this journey of life. When I step out and am quick to make them laugh, I get a second look, maybe more.

And that second or third look is what I’m hoping for. In those shared moments, maybe we’ll connect. Maybe we can go deeper. Maybe my life will have meaning. Ultimately, I’d like for others to notice I passed by. I’d like to influence them. Maybe change something in them for the better. Make a difference. Help out. Maybe it would be reciprocal.

If I stay content in my current situation and state of mind, I fear I’m missing out. Missing connections. Missing purpose. Currently, I’m certain that if I were to pass on, nine out of ten people I rub elbows with would not even notice. Yikes. That’s not much of an influence. So maybe, I don’t know, a total of ten people, would care or realize I was gone. I’ll have to sit down and think about that one some more. But I’m not sure it would even be ten. If I’m honest, probably more like six and they’re all family members.

Is contentment related to happiness? Well, I think generally, yes….but also somewhat no. I can be content in the city or in the country. With a job or without. With friends and connections and without (….sometimes). Outwardly, I appear to be happy. Inwardly, not so much. I’m not happy. I want to be, oh how I want to be happy. I want to know joy. Intellectually, I understand “joy and happiness” but in reality I can’t actually put my finger on it. Certainly I’ve had moments of pure joy or pure happiness but it’s fleeting. Is that normal? Is that the way it is for everyone? I literally have no clue.

This lack of happiness fills me with longing. Longing for joy. Longing for more. Longing to be cared for. Longing to be appreciated. Longing to be seen. Longing to BE. Longing for a deep friendship or meeting of souls.

At some point, I doubt the validity of my longing and question whether it’s really just lust. Lust for those things. Lust being more shallow and never sated. Lust being born of poor intentions. Am I just lusting for a deep connection with another soul? If I attained that, would I be fulfilled? Or would I lust for more beyond that, never satisfied? Never content?

And now I’ve come full circle to contentment again.

Contentment.
Happiness.
Longing.
Lust.
Where do I fall on this self-made scale? What’s *really* important? What part of me do I leave behind to attain the happiness I long (or lust?) for?

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